Brady opts to miss Patriots' optional programField Level Media
May 21. 2018 10:19PM
The New England Patriots began their voluntary offseason program Monday, but quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski were not in attendance.
Brady confirmed in late April that he intends to play the upcoming season, but has thus far skipped all voluntary activities this offseason. Brady has said he has taken more time for himself and his family in the wake of a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Brady guided the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the eighth time last season, an NFL record for any player, and he is a five-time champion. He won his third NFL Most Valuable Player award for the 2017 season after throwing for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns.
“Football is year-round for me,” Brady said recently. "It's a lot of thought, a lot of energy and emotion put into it, but I need to invest in them, too. My kids are 10, 8 and 5. They're not getting younger, so I need to take time so I can be available to them, too. ... I've really spent the last two or three months doing those things, and I think I'm really trying to fill my tank up so that when I do go back, I can go back and I think I'll actually be, in my mind, a better player, a better teammate, because I'll be really rejuvenated."
Brady, who turns 41 on Aug. 3, is set to make $15 million in 2018, tied with Cam Newton and Philip Rivers for 18th among NFL quarterbacks. He is scheduled to make the same figure in 2019, which currently ties Alex Smith for 21st among signal-callers. Brady will count $22 million against the Patriots' cap in both seasons, which ranks 11th in 2018 and 14th in 2019.
According to the NFL Network, the Patriots are working on a restructure of Gronkowski’s contract.
Gronkowski, who turned 29 last week, has openly considered retirement this offseason and many speculated he could be seeking a raise.
Pro Football Talk reported Monday via a source with knowledge of the situation that Gronkowski “will be present (at OTAs) at some point,” perhaps after a new contract is agreed to.
Due to league rules, any new restructure of his contract that includes incentives cannot be signed until Thursday, a year after Gronkowski signed an incentive-laden restructure that gave him a chance to boost his 2017 salary from $5.25 million to $10.75 million. Despite missing a few statistical benchmarks, the tight end ultimately earned the maximum by being named first-team All-Pro, the fourth such honor in his career.
If Gronkowski were to sign a new contract Thursday, he could participate in the team’s third day of OTAs, as the Patriots will work Monday and Tuesday before an off day Wednesday. After Thursday’s practice, their remaining OTAs will be held on May 30-31, June 11-12 and 14-15, along with a mandatory minicamp from June 5-7.
Any player who misses the mandatory minicamp could be subject to fines, unlike all other offseason workouts.
Gronkowski was absent throughout the team’s offseason conditioning program, preventing him from collecting the $250,000 workout bonus in his contract. He confirmed on social media in April that he plans to play in 2018, which will be his ninth NFL season.
In 14 games last season, Gronkowski totaled 69 catches, 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. He hasn’t played in a full season since 2011, his second campaign, missing a total of 26 games over the last six years.